Picks and Pans Review: American Playhouse: Blue Window
PBS (Mon., June 1, 9 p.m. ET)
In a two-page press release, playwright Craig Lucas tells us how he wrote Blue Window, an off-Broadway experimental play directed here by one Norman Rene. Craig reports that Norman "wanted to do a theatrical piece about banal behavior." Norm got his wish. Window gives us seven sad and lonely young losers from New York brought together for an evening of idle chatter at a dinner party. This is supposed to be, the press releases say, a drama "about social relationships in the 1980s." But something's wrong: These people aren't talking about real estate, stock options and brand names. They're talking about Eugene O'Neill, jazz piano and psychology. Sounds like the mid-'70s to me, But as they gab, these relatively unknown but talented stage actors give us fine moments of acting and drama. When Window does what Craig and Norm tried to do—"allowing seemingly trivial behavior to speak for itself"—the show works. As they talk about nothing in particular, the characters say a lot about themselves. But Window doesn't stop while it's ahead. At the end, the characters put their neuroses up in neon and Window turns into plain old melodrama.
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